Hi! So I was suckered into—I mean, invited to take part in this My Writing Progress Blog Tour by author L.M. David (http://lmdavid54.wordpress.com/). This should be a real treat for you readers because, really, there’s nothing I love more than thinking about how little progress I’ve been making on my work. Seriously, though, L.M. David’s a great writer whose work I enjoy and I got free publicity on her blog, so why not?
Anyway, here’s the questions I was asked (complete with answers because I was feeling generous):
1. What am I working on?
Good question, mysterious first-person interviewer! Right now I’m working on a blog article about My Writing Process. I’m also working on keeping my snarkiness under control, but that’s a lost cause. I was working on the sequel to my first novel Ancient Blood: A Novel of the Hegemony but I lost my steam and it all began to feel bleak and hopeless and depressing… So now I’ve gone back to working on my outline for the sequel to my second novel, Drawing Dead: A Faolan O’Connor Novel. Jesus, what is with me always putting the word “novel” in the subtitle? It’s like I’m afraid people won’t realize it’s fiction or something—I also don’t understand how some authors can crank out a novel every six months or so, because this shit’s as difficult and time-consuming as what I image bringing a child to term and giving birth would be.
2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
Well, it’s better, of course! LOL!
Oh, you want an answer with real thought? Fine, fine. Really, I think the major difference lies in the details. I take my vampires for what they are as characters and let them do their thing. I don’t make apologies for them and they don’t make apologies for being vampires. I try to make my fictional world as realistic as I can, meaning that I try to think about all the stupid little details of life with regard to my people. They have a whole society set up, so I think about how that really works. How do the vampires get their hair cut? How do they get people to work for them and keep them? It’s a little meta and more than a little self-aware, but we live in a pop-culture saturated culture and my vampires aren’t immune to that. I like to think about how different people and different cultures solve problems, so some of my vampires are monstrous assholes while others are relatively decent people who happen to drink blood. I hate one-size-fits-all vampire mythologies where all vampires are [insert stereotypical image here]. Why shouldn’t the vampires within a story be just as diverse as the human beings they originally were? It’s definitely a matter of taste, so some people will find my vamps a refreshing change from the norm while others will be bothered that I didn’t stick to a standard formula.
I can’t control what other authors write and I think it’s silly to pretend that my novels are super-original concepts. There’s been other authors with similar ideas to mine, some whom I’ve read and other that I’ve never heard of, but it really comes down to the characters and the stories. There are lots of spy novels in the world, but only one James Bond. I write my novels from the heart and I try to make them the best that they can be, which is all I can really promise. They’re the kind of novels I’d want to read, the kind I so rarely find when I look. My new novel, Drawing Dead, for instance, is about vampire gangsters in the 1930s New York. Now that’s a pretty great premise, but what I really think sets it apart from other novels I’ve read that tried to combine those ideas is the character of Faolan O’Connor. That’s why I gave it the subtitle I did. It’s not a “Vampire Gangsters of New York” novel, it’s a Faolan O’Connor novel. Give it a try and I think you’ll see the difference.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Um, because I like it? Seriously, why does everyone always ask this? It’s not like I suffered a bizarre childhood trauma that forever compelled me to write about vampires! I’m a writer and have experimented with a number of different genres and styles. Ancient Blood started out as a challenge to write a better vampire movie, something that I’d actually like to see rather than the crap that was out at the time. I was eventually inspired to transform Ancient Blood into a novel because it would allow me to expand on and explain the bizarre and wonderful vampire society I’d created. That story made me think of other stories I could tell in the same universe and other characters I could chronicle. I’m really all about my characters—many of those characters are vampires because of the role-playing games I’ve played in—and so I write vampire stories. One day, when I want/need to take a break from The Order Saga, there’s a sci-fi action/adventure story I’ve got waiting in the dark corners of my mind. By the time I get around to that, I’ll probably have a bunch of other ideas. By the way, if any authors out there are looking for some great stories to do, just contact me and I’ll sell you some. I’ve got plenty that I’ll probably never get around to using.
4. How does my writing process work?
Boy, I wish I knew the answer to that! Most of the time, it doesn’t seem to work at all.
Here’s the routine:
a) Sleep obscenely late and struggle to get myself out of bed at all. My dreams are usually annoying and nonsensical and don’t provide me with any inspiration at all.
b) I decide that I’m going to try to get some writing done, but first I have to eat, get ready, and take care of various chores.
c) Get caught up on Facebook, emails, or TV and feel vaguely ashamed of myself for not working on something.
d) Finally force myself to pack up my laptop and go to Panera Bread or some other place with air-conditioning, refillable sodas, and wi-fi and get set up.
e) I check back on Facebook and email to make sure I haven’t missed anything important and usually find stuff to comment on.
f) Mentally scold myself, pull up my WIP, and proceed to stare at it for a while before creeping back onto Facebook.
g) I decide to “compromise” by working on a blog post, critique group submission, or something else vaguely “writing” related so that I don’t feel so bad.
h) Search for and fill out an online job application because I’m out of work.
i) Think of something cool and then spend half an hour trying to figure out how to work it into whatever I’m working on. Sometimes I find a place for it and sometimes I just have to file it away for a later story.
j) Then I have to go home because Panera is closing, and I spend the rest of the night feeling unsatisfied because I didn’t get anything worthwhile done. I promise myself that I’ll do more tomorrow, but even I don’t believe myself.
So I’m going to walk away from the keyboard and have a good cry. Happy now?
Well, thanks for joining me for My Writing Process Blog Tour! It’s been a fun-and-misery-filled rampage through self-pity and depression, hasn’t it? If you can handle it, here’s the two victims I tagged to continue this modern chain letter: Daven Anderson and Theresa Oliver!
Daven Anderson spends his nights modifying cars for the Council of Thirteen’s elite Venator law enforcers; because when you’re a Vampire, there’s no such thing as “too much horsepower.” Daven brings supercharged concept cars to life, so the Venators have the power they need to chase rabid vampires, chupacabras, cattle-mutilating aliens, vampire hunters, and whoever or whatever else the Council deems a threat to the security of the Vampire community.
The Venators love to have long conversations with Daven while he works on their cars. Unbeknownst to them, Daven has been secretly recording the Venators’ tales, using them as the basis for the Vampire Syndrome saga. After a long night’s work, Daven plays back the tapes, transcribes the best excerpts and sends them as “fiction writing” to the unsuspecting staff members at PDMI Publishing.
The normal people’s constant misrepresentations and misunderstandings of Vampires over the last three centuries, culminating in the most recent shimmering, over-emoting caricatures of “vampires”, finally motivated Daven to “hide the truth in plain sight” with the Vampire Syndrome saga. Thanks to Daven’s transcriptions, with the assistance of PDMI Publishing, the normal world can at long last read the tales of the Vampires’ elite law enforcers, without the sugar-coated glittering stardust that passes for modern “vampire fiction.”
Daven has hired a professional double, who was previously a grocery store cashier, to promote his novels and work in PDMI’s marketing department, so Daven can continue to chronicle the Venator’s adventures for future volumes of the Vampire Syndrome saga.
Theresa grew up in southern Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky, in Clarksville, Indiana. In her childhood, she fell in love with the power of the written word, a love affair that has continued throughout her life. She moved to Florida, where she has lived much of my adult life. Oliver attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tenn., and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications, News Editorial sequence, and then a Master of Arts in Teaching, Early Childhood Education sequence, from Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Ga. She is currently a writer and a full-time teacher in Kissimmee, Fla. However, her biggest adventure is as a mother of three beautiful boys. But most of all, she loves writing and sharing it with you!